Is it just your imagination, or does every bit of this area seem (and smell) like cow country? Actually, you’re right on the nose: The Champlain Valley  is currently home to almost all of the state’s dairy farms, though a good number of fruit farms are also mixed in there.
This means plenty of places to stop and sample ice cream and cheese (or apples) as you drive along the wooded stretches of Lake Champlain’s banks—and plenty of scenic vistas of working farmhouses framed by mountains and calm waters.
Shelburne  is a short drive south down Route 7 from Burlington  (7 mi., 15 min.). From Shelburne, Vergennes  is another 15 miles down the road (25 min.). Alternatively, you can reach Shelburne by driving north on Route 7 from Middlebury  (10 mi., 15 min.). From Vergennes, drive east on Route 17 to reach Bristol  (15 mi., 20 min.). Or, to drive to Bristol from the highway, leave I-89 at exit 9, take Route 100B and then Route 100 south through Waitsfield, then head west along Route 17 through the breathtaking Appalachian Gap (95 mi., 2 hr. 30 min. from White River Junction ).
Addison County Transit Resources (802/388-1946, www.actr-vt.org ) runs buses between Middlebury (Exchange St. or Merchants Row), Bristol (Shaw’s Plaza), and Vergennes (Main St. and Green St.). The Chittenden County Transit Authority (802/864-2282, www.cctaride.org ) runs buses from Vergennes (Main St. and Green St.) to Burlington.